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Sunday, Jul 30, 2006

July 31, 2006

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New episode of FCF Radio

In this edition of Full Contact Fighter Radio we talk with Ivan Salaverry, who discusses his recent win over Art Santore at the WFA, and Johnny Alessio, who is getting ready for an upcoming bout with UFC veteran Nick Diaz. We have decided to post the segment with Alessio despite recent Internet speculation that is saying the fight with Diaz is off.

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The Northern Touch: News and Notes from Canadian MMA
Newton, Manhoef Fight Questionable?
Gill and Menjivar Ready for K-1 Hero’s Tourney

By Kelsey Mowatt

The Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan is set to host the opening round of K-1 Hero’s Light Heavyweight and Middleweight Grand Prix this Saturday, August 5, and Canada will be well represented. Heading to Japan to fight in the 154-pound bracket (middleweight) will be noted Team Revolution striker Kultar Gill and UFC veteran, Ivan Menjivar. Although it had been reported that one of Canada’s MMA pioneers, Carlos Newton, would be fighting Cage Rage standout Melvin Manhoef in the opening round of the 187.5-pound (light heavyweight) tournament, Newton could not confirm his participation to FCF earlier this week.

"I’ve been training and it has been going great," commented Newton on his return to MMA competition after a nearly 22-month lay-off. "I was looking forward to fighting but now it seems kind of up in the air. I can’t really comment at this time, but I don’t know if the fight is going to happen."

Newton would not elaborate on the circumstances that support his pessimism regarding his return. FCF’s attempts to reach Newton’s management for further comment were unsuccessful.

In the 154-pound bracket, Montreal fighter Menjivar (19-4) will take on Hideo Tokoro (13-11-1), who since capturing headlines by drawing with the legendary Royce Gracie at K-1 Hero’s New Year’s Eve card "Dynamite," has lost two of his last three fights. Menjivar returns to Japan for the first time since defeating Taiyo Nakahara at K-1 Hero’s 2006 in May by unanimous decision, and is looking forward to this weekend’s event.

"I’m not going to try to do anything special, I’m just going there go there to take the fight and get the win," says Menjivar. "I’m going to try to finish the fight, keep my hands up, and get the submission or knockout. I want to keep going to Japan because I like fighting there and want to keep winning so I can keep negotiating my purse up."

According to Menjivar, he has changed little in his pre-fight training regimen and has no set game plan for Tokoro due to knowing very little about his opponent.

"I turned off my satellite; I don’t watch the fights anymore," Menjivar admits. "I just worry about my training and preparation and see how it goes when I fight."

In fact, Tokoro’s last loss came to Kultar Gill the same night that Menjivar defeated Nakahara in May, with the noted Canadian striker defeating the Japanese rep in 43 seconds via TKO. Gill, who carries a record of 8-3 and often goes by the nickname "Black Mamba," will meet UFC veteran and highly regarded Caol Uno (20-8-4). For Gill, taking on a fighter in Uno, who has only lost three times in three years to such notable opponents as Joachim Hansen, Hermes Franca and "Kid" Yamamoto, this weekend’s fight could be his toughest test yet.

"Of course this will be the biggest fight for me so far," Gill tells FCF. "Tokoro was a good victory for me, but Uno is one of the best fighters at that weight. It will be the classic striker versus grappler match-up; in my mind he’ll try to stand with me just to try to get me comfortable and then he’ll try to take me down. I’ve been working a lot of my wrestling with Olympic wrestler Colin Daynes, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up and knock him out, come back to work on Monday with the victory."

Gill works full time as a Corrections Officer in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, and trains with Team Revolution out of Langley city. Gill’s training partners at Team Revolution include several notable Canadian fighters, including Tyler Jackson, Todd Gouwenberg, Tim Thurston and "The Ultimate Fighter" season 3 participant Kalib Starnes. Despite the successes of the team and in his own career, Gill has no plans to quit his day job just yet.

"This is my hobby," says Gill. "I train a little bit and fight, with my natural ability I’m able to get ready for these fights and still work a full-time job. I’ll fight anyone at any time, the worst thing that is going to happen is I’ll get knocked or choked out, or I’ll do the same thing to them. I have a mortgage and a wife; this isn’t my career because there just isn’t enough money in it right now. Who knows what will happen in the future; if someday I get offered enough money to fight full time then I will."

The K-1 Hero’s Grand Prix is also set to feature Kazushi Sakuraba taking on Kestutis Smirnovas, Shungo Oyama fighting Rodrigo Gracie, and Yoshihiro Akiyama versus Kin Taiei in the opening round of the light heavyweight tournament, while Gesias "JZ" Calvalcanti versus Hiroyuki Takaya and Rani Yahira meeting Kazuya Yasuhiro fill out the remainder of the middleweight bracket.

From the event’s promoter:

Sefo Returns to Vegas for "Battle at Bellagio" Superfight with Maksutaj

July 31, 2006; New York, NY … K-1 superstar Ray "Sugarfoot" Sefo will face off with five-time world kickboxing champion, Azem Maksutaj, in a "Battle At Bellagio" Superfight at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Bellagio on Saturday, August 12th.

For Sefo, the appearance will mark the second of his career in Las Vegas. During a Superfight two years ago at Bellagio, the 6 foot, 235 pound New Zealander rushed out of the gates against American brawler Marvin Eastman. A barrage of punches from Sefo put Eastman out on his feet and brought about a referee stoppage at the 1:32 mark of the opening round.

Sefo’s breakthrough year in K-1 competition came in 2000 when he reached the championship round of the annual, year-end "World Grand Prix Finals" eight-man tournament staged in Japan’s 70,000 crowd-capacity Tokyo Dome. There, he steamrolled his first two opponents, Japan’s Musashi and France’s Cyril Abidi, respectively, before meeting four-time World Grand Prix champion, Ernesto Hoost, in the championship round of battle. Against the man otherwise known as "Mr. Perfect," Sefo stood his ground and went the distance of the bout before Hoost was awarded the victory.

Of late, Sefo has reaffirmed his status as a top contender in the sport by defeating two of K-1’s hottest prospects. In Hiroshima, Japan last June, it took Sefo a mere 37 seconds to stop the lightning quick Ruslan Karaev with a barrage of punches. Three months later, Sefo secured a victory over Thailand’s Kaoklai Kaennorsing by way of judges’ decision. On June 3rd of this year, Sefo met Karaev for a second time and produced a result similar to that of their first bout, sending Karaev down for the 10 count with a right hook at the 1:42 mark of the opening round.

Maksutaj’s appearance will also be his second on a K-1 card in Las Vegas. Last August, the 31-year-old native of Switzerland entered the eight-man "Mayhem At Mirage" tournament a relative unknown amongst American fight fans. Over the course of the fight card, however, he gained the respect and admiration of the near-sellout crowd on hand.

After scoring an upset victory over three-time Las Vegas K-1 tournament champion Michael McDonald in the quarterfinal round, Maksutaj engaged Russia’s Karaev in a relentless, toe-to-toe war that has since been referred to as one of the greatest K-1 fights of all-time. Maksutaj battled back from two knockdowns and nearly put Karaev down in the third round before the closing bell rang and Karaev, the eventual tournament winner, walked away with the decision.

In addition to the Superfight between Sefo and Maksutaj, "Battle At Bellagio" will be highlighted by an eight-man, single-elimination tournament as well as two additional Superfights. Two-time K-1 tournament champion, Alexey "The Red Scorpion" Ignashov; three-time Las Vegas K-1 tournament winner, Michael "The Black Sniper" McDonald; and 2003 K-1 USA tournament victor, Carter Williams; are scheduled to compete in the tournament.

In other Superfight action, Ruslan Karaev will take on two-time world kickboxing champion and undefeated professional boxer, Dewey "The Black Kobra" Cooper and world Muay Thai champion and K-1 Max veteran, Duane "Bang" Ludwig, will square off with three-time kickboxing champion, Fernando "Cool" Calleros.

Tickets for K-1 "Battle At Bellagio" are available for purchase both online at K-1 North America’s official website, www.k-1usa.net, as well as at the Bellagio box office (888-488-7111). Tickets are priced at $300, $200, $100 and $50.

The Grand Ballroom at Bellagio will open for the event at 5 PM. The first preliminary bout will begin at 5:30 PM and the tournament will commence at approximately 7 PM.

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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